Indonesia to produce COVID-19 vaccine in January once testing completed

Kyodo News

Posted at Jul 21 2020 07:08 PM

JAKARTA - Indonesia, in cooperation with a Chinese drugmaker, is expected to produce a new coronavirus vaccine in January when the final stage of clinical testing for the vaccine candidate is expected to be completed, government officials and researchers said Tuesday.

Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech Ltd. has developed the vaccine candidate along with a team of Indonesian scientists and researchers, as well as Indonesian state-owned drug maker PT Bio Farma.

"We have been preparing to produce 100 million doses per year, and will expand the production to 250 million doses per year," Bio Farma CEO Honesti Basyir told a press conference after meeting Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"But for the first stage... at the time when the clinical trials are completed, and the license for its distribution is issued, we will produce about 40 million doses per year," Basyir said.

The vaccine candidate has passed Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials. The first 2 phases were conducted in China beginning in March and involved about 700 volunteers.

Sinovac claimed that the vaccine candidate has been proven safe concerning potential side effects and has, so far, shown effectiveness.

On the same occasion Tuesday, Penny Lukito, head of the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, said her agency will monitor the process of clinical trial testing for the vaccine candidate until it is completed.

Once the clinical trials are completed, Lukito said, "We can immediately issue the license for distribution, so that the vaccines can be immediately distributed."

Last month, in an interview with Kyodo News, the leading researcher of the vaccine's development, Kusnandi Rusmil, said Phase 3 clinical testing will take place in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung and 2 cities in China, including the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the virus outbreak.

In Indonesia, volunteers from 18 to 50 will participate in the clinical tests.

Of the 1,620 total participants, 540 will have blood taken and vaccinated to check their immunogenicity, or the ability of a foreign substance to provoke an immune response in the body and the effectiveness of the vaccine taken from deactivated SARS-COVID-2 virus.

The remaining volunteers will be vaccinated immediately to observe any local reaction to the vaccination, such as fever. Each participant will be vaccinated twice, according to Rusmil, with the second conducted a month after the first.